Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #11
Genre: Urban Fantasy
At twenty-one, Savannah Levine considers herself a full-fledged member of the otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper, with an impressive knowledge of and ability to perform spells. The only problem is, she's having a hard time convincing her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, to take her seriously as an adult. She's working as the research assistant at the detective agency they founded, and when they take off on a romantic vacation alone, leaving her in charge, Savannah finds herself itching for a case to call her own. Suddenly, Savannah gets the chance she's been waiting for: Recruited by another supernatural detective, she begins to investigate a small town where two troubled young women have been found in an abandoned warehouse, murdered. Now a third woman's dead, and on closer inspection small details point to darker forces at play. Savannah feels certain she can handle the case, but with signs of supernatural activity appearing at every turn, things quickly become more serious- and far more dangerous-than she realizes.
Kelley is one of the only authors that I will always always ALWAYS buy her books. Usually on release day. I had been waiting anxiously for Savannah's POV novel for EVER. I think she first makes her appearance when she is a tiny 12 years old in the 2nd book of the series Stolen. I love how we've seen her grow up through the many succeeding books. Now, 10 books and 9ish years later, Savannah is all grown up and ready for her own book(s). Savannah has always had her own brand of saucy and snarky personality, even as a pre-teen and teenager. Now that she's grown up, she's really grown into her own and has become someone outside of Eve Levine's daughter, or Paige and Lucas's ward. I love seeing Savannah deal with her unique set of powers. She is the only (that we know of ) witch that can use both Sorcerer and Witch magic due to her interesting parentage. So granted, she is a little cocky about her amazing abilities. Sometimes a little too cocky...but it's all a part of Savannah and her bad-assery is really fun.
As always, Kelley has managed to paint an incredibly strong cast of characters. From hero to bad guy to everyone in between, each character is dynamic and interesting in their own way, and they have their own story out side of the needs and goals of the main character. I think this is what really make the greats like Kelley Armstrong, Jeanine Frost, and (early) Laurell K. Hamilton stand out in the genre. Even the minor characters they create are so vibrant you feel like you will turn around and see them having coffee down the street or catch them at the club late at night. One of these amazing characters was Kaila, the 8 year old daughter of one of the murder victims. She was so little,but so hard and tough and snarky that I couldn't help but love her, even though if she was my kid I'd have to smack her a good one lol. You can tell she's been through a lot, but it hasn't damaged her, she seems to have really grown and flourished because of the struggle her life has been and I loved seeing her interact with Savannah.
The plot, the background, the characters...pretty much every aspect of this story was amazing. I love how Savannah knows shes hot but doesn't have a big head about it. She uses her feminine wiles on the boys and the drool like puppies. Definitely made me laugh a time or two. At the same time, she isn't just a nice body and a pretty face. She is intelligent, strong, and quick witted which makes her an excellent MC not to mention female "role model" kind of figure. I also liked that she was still only 21. There are a lot of YA books out there with teenager protagonists, and then there's the adult urban fantasy novels with late 20's/early 30's protagonists...there are rarely MC's in that weird transitional phase, and I for one would like to see more. Becoming a young adult was more traumatic for me than all of my teen years combined. I had to move out on my own, was responsible for bills, and college is A LOT harder than I thought it would be. Savannah is in that awkward in between stage and I love seeing how she is dealing. It makes me connect to her that much more.
The one thing that I did find a tad confusing was the addition of several male "partners" for Savannah to deal with. Jesse is the detective who hires her, but then disappears for the majority of the first half of the book and finally pops up in the last five or so chapters. You never really get to form a picture of him because him and Michael are so similar. Speaking of Michael, he is another detective, and he at least makes sense in his capacity as love interest, but he is a love interest that leads Savannah away from her destined true love, Adam, so I kind of had it in for him a little. Of course I've loved Adam right along with Savannah for the last however many books. At first, I thought it was kind of weird that Adam liked Savannah given their age difference. (Adam is the same age as Paige, Savannah's legal guardian), but as the years have passed, I've figured out that Adam is the perfect one for Savannah. I love how he's grown to be such a friend to Savannah. I love how he sends her food and coffee with notes saying that he knows she'll forget to eat without him reminding her. I love that he doesn't take advantage of her youth or tease her about her childhood crush on him. And most of all, I love a certain scene at the end. There's so much hurt, so much feeling, so much...chemistry between the two of them. There wasn't much going on in the scene...just talking/arguing...but for me it was one of the most powerful scenes in the series. I want them to get together so badly it hurts!
There comes a point in a series when it really can do no wrong. You've been with it since the beginning and after years of getting to know the characters and watching them go through the ups and downs of life, you can give them nothing other than 5 Keys. I have loved almost everything that Kelley has put out about the Otherworld and I can only hope that they continue to be so awesome. But I don't give this book 5 Keys simply because the series is good. Waking the Witch stands on its own. (although you might want to read the other books in the series to understand a lot of the subtext going on). It has a fabulous plot with lots of false leads, twists and turns, and really fun characters. Savannah stands on her own as a strong and snarky MC. Of all the women of the Otherworld, I think I like her almost as much as my favorite, Elena. Plus she can show the boys a thing or two, rides a motorcycle, and can kick major supernatural ass. Wow...I think I'm developing a girl-crush...lol...I can't WAIT to read Spellbound!